Williams wins all-around title but bars troubles doom NIU Gymnasts to third at Illinois Classic



March 19, 2005

WOMEN'S COLLEGE GYMNASTICS--- Northern Illinois University at State of Illinois Classic / at Chicago, IL / University of Illinois-Chicago, host / Saturday / March 19, 2005

1. Illinois-Chicago 195.250
2. Illinois 194.000
3. Northern Illinois 192.750
4. Illinois State 191.250

Complete Results

Williams wins all-around title but bars troubles doom NIU Gymnasts to third at Illinois Classic
CHICAGO, IL-With just one more weekend of competition remaining before the Mid-American Conference Women's Gymnastics Championships, Northern Illinois University can look to junior Ashlee Williams and start to feel pretty good about its chances. Williams seems to be peaking at the right time, winning her second all-around title of the year to lead the Huskies to third place at the State of Illinois Classic Saturday (Mar. 19).

Williams (Liberty, MO / Senior)---who also won the all-around crown in her very first meet of the season against the University of Illinois-Chicago all the way back on Jan. 9---outscored three Flames competitors again on her way to meet titleist honors. The junior became the first Huskie to eclipse the 39.000-mark this season, posting a four-event total of 39.025.

"That's a huge score for Ashlee," NIU head coach Mark Sontag explained. "It's really encouraging for us to see numbers like that as we move towards later part of the season."

Ironically enough, one of Williams' best performances of the afternoon came on one of NIU's weakest events as she posted a 9.825 on the uneven parallel bars to tie with teammate Katie Willett (Hastings, NE / Adams Central) for third place. Lisanna Goldschen (St. Joseph, MN / Apollo) actually chipped in with a 9.700 as well, bur that's where it fell apart for the Huskies. The other three NIU scores on bars all checked in at 9.100 or less, forcing the Huskies to take a 47.525 as a team and slip back in the standings.

"That was a really rough start for us on the bars," Sontag added. "We suffered three uncharacteristic falls and that really hurt us. If we don't have those falls, I think we could have made things very interesting towards the end of the meet."

It cancelled out solid team efforts on the vault and floor exercise where Northern Illinois put up 48.700 or better. Williams led the charge on the floor, winning the event with a 9.850. Kristina Campos (Gladstone, MO / Oak Park) provided some solid support with a third-place 9.800 while Amy Ristvedt (Alexandria, MN / Jefferson) earned a top-ten finish of her own in eight place with a 9.750 that helped push NIU to a 48.725.

The story played out the same on vault where it was Ristvedt pacing the charge with a 9.800 that was good enough for third place. Kelly Kramer (Long Lake, MN / Benilde-St. Margaret's) took home a spot in the top-five with a fifth-place routine that netted a 9.775. Williams and Campos weren't far behind the duo with identical 9.725 performances. As a team, the Huskies scored a solid 48.700.

Williams also added a 9.625 on the balance beam to tie for team-high honors with Campos. Campos posted a 9.075 on the beam as well to finish the meet in sixth place with an all-around total of 38.225. Both gymnasts earned all-state honors along with Willett and Ristvedt for their efforts.

UIC won the four-team meet on its own home floor with a 195.250. The University of Illinois racked up 194.000 points to finish second, followed by the Huskies (192.750) and Illinois State University who rounded out the quartet at 191.250.

Northern Illinois hits the road for its final dual meet prior to the MAC Championships when the Huskies head to league power Central Michigan University Sunday (Mar. 20). Action is set to begin at 1:00 p.m. (CST).